U.S. Supreme Court Takes on Mexican Border Shooting Dispute

Mexican Border Shooting Dispute Updated: May 28, 2019  9:54 a.m.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court was arguing whether or not the family of a Mexican teenager who got fatally shot on Mexican soil by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired from across the border in Texas can pursue a civil rights lawsuit in the American courts.

This will mark the second time in which the Supreme Court will consider a legal dispute that involved Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was 15 when he was killed back in 2010 along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The justices will decide on whether to allow the family’s civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages from Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa to proceed.

In 2017, the court had previously ruled in the same case but did not decide the critical legal question of whether Hernandez’s family could press charges for the violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which bars unjustified deadly force. The lawsuit also claims that Hernandez’s right to due process under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment was violated.

Trump has pursued hardline immigration policies, including advocating a wall that will be built along the U.S.-Mexico border. His administration has urged the Supreme Court not to allow the Hernandez and Rodriguez lawsuits.

The Border Patrol mentioned at the time that Hernandez was pelting U.S. agents with rocks from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande when he was shot down. The lawyers on behalf of Hernandez’s family dispute that account, claiming he was playing a game with a group of teenagers in which they would run across a culvert from the Mexican side and touch the U.S. border fence before running back.

The FBI claimed Hernandez was known as an immigrant smuggler who had been pressed into service by smuggling gangs, guiding illegal immigrants into the United States.